Creating Scholar Athletes: Tennis & Education

 
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A handmade Felucca ship from the Nile River
A handmade Felucca ship from the Nile River

PAST&E's summer programming got off to a great start with our "Greatest Rivers of the World" educational tour. We started off in North America learning about the Mackenzie River in Canada, followed by the Rio Grande (called the Rio Bravo in Mexico) which runs through 3 U.S. and 4 Mexican states. 

Each day of learning is a divergence from what many students experience at school. We emphasize student led learning, where a student or group of students are presented with a challenge and can then experiment and find a solution on their own. We hope to enable each student to love investigating and coming up with creative solutions to simple and difficult problems alike!

Some of the other themes for the summer include: 

Plant and Animal Adaptations: What makes an animal suited to live in a particular habitat? 

Cultures: What makes a certain area unique? How do people live differently, depending upon their surroundings?

World Geography: How many countries can you name on each of the continents? Do you know any of the capital cities? Our students will be learning as many as possible this summer, increasing our knowledge of and familiarity with the world outside of Portland, OR!

Click on the links below to read the full articles about our first 3 weeks traveling the Greatest Rivers of the World!

And check out our map to see all of the destinations that we will "visit" throughout the summer!

Learning the Countries of South America
Learning the Countries of South America
St Basil
St Basil's Cathedral in Russia (Volga River visit)

Links:

Reused Milk Containers with Starter Seeds!
Reused Milk Containers with Starter Seeds!

Earth day is an incredibly meaningful day for Portland After-School Tennis & Education. We are always looking for ways to bring peace to our community and also spend a portion of our extended learning summer program learning about what we can do to save Endangered Animals and the Environment. 

This April we read about young adults and children who have made big changes in their world: one built a windmill in his village in Africa in order to bring electricity to his neighbors, another started a campaign to plant 1 million trees: to date, that project has planted 1 BILLION TREES! We also read about the Greenhouse Gas effect, and how energy is produced. Our coaches are pretty amazing at finding engaging reading materials for all of our K-6th grade scholar athletes. 

We've made it a year round habit at PAST&E to recycle and compost every day, but this month we were looking for more ways to reduce, reuse and recycle so we started a few projects! First off, we got seeds started for the PAST&E Garden, planting them in our single serving milk cartons that each student gets every day at PAST&E in their healthy snack. And to really get the garden going, we received Broccoli, Peas and Lettuce from Portland Nursery which we planted this weekend! The PAST&E Families are tending to the new starters and we hoping to plant them in a few weeks! To keep our planting schedule on track we've also received help from students at University of Portland and Oregon Health and Sciences University who've helped us prioritize our garden in the busy PAST&E schedule! Thank you to each of these groups for their help!

And finally, we saved up our paper and plastic recycled materials to use for a recycled art project with the theme: Imaginary Animals! And the results were some of the cutest animals we've seen!

Recycled Lion
Recycled Lion
Recycled Elephant
Recycled Elephant

Links:

PAST&E Students Dancing!
PAST&E Students Dancing!

In the Spring of 2011 the Student Athletes at Portland After-School Tennis &Education (PAST&E) took up the challenge to learn the dance moves to Beyoncé’s “Let’s Move” in conjunction with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign promoting active youth lifestyles! In addition to pledging to participate in the Let’s Move campaign, PAST&E also participates in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge.

After learning Let’s Move, the PAST&E student athletes, volunteers, families and coaches were hungry for more and with our Coach Alyssa’s help we’ve learned 8 fitness dances and counting.

Our fitness dances have become a critical part of fulfilling our mission which includes a strong emphasis on fitness and nutrition to help curb childhood obesity. Every day at PAST&E our student athletes participate in at least 60 minutes of fitness and tennis activities, and many students have taken these dances home to their families who have also learned the steps!

The PAST&E fitness dances are incorporated into our Daily Peace Circles, in which we focus on ways that together we can encourage peace in our daily lives, our community and in our world. Dancing together builds our sense of a PAST&E family, warms us up for tennis each afternoon and keeps fitness fun and engaging for all student athletes regardless of ability.

Thank you for your support of our program! With your help we continue to make a distinct change in the lives of the student athletes we work with!

Links:

SUN Student
SUN Student

In addition to the student athletes we serve in our year round program, Portland After-School Tennis and Education, Inc partners with SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) After-School Programs to provide tennis and educational fun to at-risk low income students three times during the school year. 30 students from 1st to 5th grade just graduated from their tuition-free 8 week program! Each week two groups of 15 students came to St Johns Racquet Center in Portland, Oregon to learn about African Animals, play tennis, work on life skills and participate in our fitness dances! Like our year round students, the SUN groups selected an animal to learn about and then created cheers and artwork about their chosen animals! They became known as the Brave Baboons and the Joyful Giraffes!

The graduation ceremony was followed by an amazing performance at the SUN After-School Showcase where the Brave Baboons and Joyful Giraffes were joined by the Classy Chimpanzees (K-3rd grade), the Elite Elephants (4-5th grade) and the Cheetah Champs (6th grade) to dance to the "Waka Waka!" The students had worked hard on perfecting their moves and it paid off!

See the video of their performance here!

For our SUN school students this was a special moment as they got to perform with the year round PAST&E student athletes for the first time. They felt a strong sense of community and belonging and know that they have a second home at PAST&E. Furthermore, they've shown they've got the confidence to perform in front of a large group! We're so proud of their accomplishments and hope we'll see them again soon!

Thanks again for your support of our program!

SUN Graduation Ceremony
SUN Graduation Ceremony

Links:

PAST&E learns about Islands across the world
PAST&E learns about Islands across the world

PAST&E's Island Hopping Summer Curriculum infused science into art, reading, writing, fitness and nutrition activities all summer long. Each week we "traveled" to a different Island to learn about endemic species, cultures, history and politics, arts and crafts and foods eaten on each Island. Our focus on science, in particular animal biology, filled a gap in our student athlete's school experience and filled our day with fun enriching new activities. Each week the students sent postcards from the Island they learned about to one another, wrote newspaper articles about the activities they participated in, and made their own cheers and songs about the animals they learned about. These activities were a great way to make education fun and exciting for the student athletes, giving them the chance to learn for the sake of learning, not because they would be tested on the material!

For the PAST&E Student Athletes, it's important to learn about citizenship and how to respect and contribute in a positive way at PAST&E, at home, at school, in our local community, in our city, state and across the world! While learning about endangered species we focused on what we can do to help! The biggest impact we can make is to learn about animals, how they've become endangered and what is being done to help! While PAST&E didn't actually travel to the 8 Islands/Island nations we visited this summer, we did visit these places in spirit and feel a personal connection to each place!

This fall we are focusing on three animals to understand on a deeper level how people have advocated for animals and the positive changes they have been able to make on their behalf. Our K-3rd grade student athletes are studying Chimpanzees and Dr. Jane Goodall, our 4-5th grade student athletes are studying Elephants and Daphne Sheldrick, and our 6th grade student athletes are studying Cheetahs and Dr. Laurie Marker. We look forward to sharing more about these animals soon!

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Project Leader

Danice Brown

Portland, OR United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Creating Scholar Athletes: Tennis & Education